Looking back at the roots of the Digital Solidarity Fund, the responses it evoked, and the linked story of missed opportunities and promises that can still be worked out.
Only 11% of African people have a fixed line telephone, 12% of African people questioned have a mobile telephone, less than 3% have an email address…So says a new study conducted by RIA. Although one of the WSIS’s main objectives is to decrease the digital divide, 80% of African people today do not have access to any form of communication service. A shocking statistic is that 15% of African people who were questioned would have preferred to buy a cellular telephone than a refrigerator! In Francophone African countries, the statistics, with the exception of Senegal, are worse.
The WSIS process is almost over, and I am wondering about what we have achieved in terms of integrating gender as a relevant dimension into the building of an ‘information society’ after seven years. What do we have?
Free, as in free speech… not free beer — that’s the message of those campaigning against proprietorial software. But what happens when the issue transforms into ‘free as in tee-shirts’? And, no. We’re not talking about the Ubuntu approach here — which not only offers you free CDs, but free shipping as well… if you know where to get it from.
Felix says "it is nice to see so many technologies here, but I don’t think we will ever have this in Bolivia, much less in our communities”. He thinks a bit and then adds, "This summit is incommunicado, in Bolivia people go to telecentres and connect to the internet there. Here everyone has a laptop and connects that way. Those of us that don’t have one cannot connect and send information to our radio stations — which is my case. On the other hand, here everyone speaks English, so language is another limitation."
She’s a Peruvian heading towards The Mountain Forum in Nepal. The forum is particularly created as a medium of alternative communication for mountainous areas, which is why, since its conception, it has specifically used the internet as a communication tool between the participating people and communities that constitute the different nodes.
WSIS: "good discussion, people were given a chance to speak out from all kinds of minority positions and it showed well what a powerful tool the internet is, from the perspective of independent journalism."
Had some conversations yesterday, and I thought I would share what I have found out in terms of some cost of participating in this event….I am wondering how much the total cost of building up these sprawling white tents cost, or hiring of the buses for the shuttle service, the planting of the trees, the printing of the Tunisian President’s picture to grace the streets… and I wonder how the payment for this eventually trickles down to you, me and the countless people who have no idea of what WSIS is about, nor have a chance to care.
Highway Africa runs the Highway Africa News Agency. (Interestingly, its work is put out under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.) They’ve got some interesting stories in their e-despatch which just reached mailboxes earlier today.One story is about African delegates boast of ICT success stories. Perhaps the most catchy title is No teeth but can still chew the fat and it’s a radio script for a radio report on the Internet Governance Forum and who controls the internet…You need to login to access these stories, but there’s no commercial barrier (or, unvoluntary sign-up fee) needed to gain access.
Tiring, long walk around the exhibition area. Given the crazy schedules here, it is very difficult to spare time and get a comprehensive outlook of the exhibition, however, am posting few links which may be of interest to some of you. Apologies for not putting these in some order. But there are some potentially useful links below…